Multitasking and Prioritizing

by | Sep 21, 2017


Multitasking isn’t really a thing. You can’t effectively focus on two tasks at the same time.  Studies over the past 50+ years have concluded that multitaskers get less done and miss information as compared to people who focus on one task at a time. When people think they are multitasking they are instead actually switching between tasks very quickly and their brain is choosing what to process. A key point is that the brain is not really doing a good job on any of the tasks being multitasked. Do you think you can multitask? You are deluding yourself according to experts. So – how can you multitask better? Don’t do it – focus on one thing at a time.

An interesting related point concerns the etymology of the word “priority.” From the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown:

“The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years. Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities. Illogically, we reasoned that by changing the word we could bend reality. Somehow we would now be able to have multiple ‘first’ things.”

I found the following surprising: the word “prioritize” first came into use during the 1972 presidential campaign – before then the word prioritize did not exist!

1 Comment

  1. I’m enjoying reading this as I sit here in my client’s deposition.


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